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Summer Dogs Checklist
It’s time to get out, kick back and have fun with dogs—safely!

Homework: Before you set off on your summer road trip, check out rules and regs and make a list of dog parks, vets and doggie hang-outs at your destination (and stops along the way). There are apps for that—BringFido (bringfido.com), for example.

Be Ready: Put together a “go-bag” for your dog, which can also serve as an emergency kit; include basic first-aid supplies, an extra collar with ID tags, a leash, bowls, a couple of old towels or a blanket, and perhaps food with a good shelf life.

Overheating: It’s nice to have company when you’re running around doing errands, but this time of the year, it’s best to let your co-pilot snooze at home rather than in your car. Even if it’s “not that hot,” even with the windows down, even in the shade, cars heat up fast, and heatstroke kills.

Humidity: And it’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity. Dogs pant to cool off, evaporating body heat by moving it across their wet tongues, and high humidity slows down that process.

Car Safety: If you don’t already use one, invest in a canine restraint device for your car. A loose dog can distract you, or worse, become airborne if you suddenly hit the brakes.

Water Safety: Before taking your pooch on the water, be sure she can swim (not all dogs do). Buckle her into a canine lifejacket if you’ll be on a fast-moving river or open water. Too much water might also not be a good thing. Swimming, diving for balls or even playing with a water hose can lead to water intoxication that can result in life threatening hyponatremia (excessively low sodium levels).

Splash: A rigid kiddie pool is a perfect place for a hot dog to cool off. A floating toy or two will make 
it even more irresistible.

Frosty Treats: Or cool her down with frozen treats. Some dogs like plain ice cubes, but practically any food your dog likes can be frozen (try easy-release silicone ice trays or cupcake pans). More recipes online;

Fear Less: Tis the season of thunderstorms and fireworks. If your dog is upset by their noise and flash, get good advice from dog-behavior pro Patricia McConnell at thebark.com/fear. Or check out Thundershirt.

Stung: Some dogs love chasing bees— until they catch one. Be prepared; before that happens, review thebark.com/stings.

Good Host: Doing some outdoor entertaining? Plan ahead with your dog in mind. Start with keeping the yard gate closed and secured, then make sure that all those tasty picnic classics—bones, skewers, corn cobs—don’t make their way into Fido’s stomach.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 78: Summer 2014
Susan Tasaki is a The Bark contributing editor.

Photo by Bev McQuay

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